Digital debuts fastest Alpha processor

Digital's newest Alpha processor begins life at 500 MHz and will zoom to higher speeds from there.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
Digital Equipment debuted at the Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, California, its fastest Alpha processor yet running at 500 MHz

The Digital 21264 Alpha processor will run at speeds of 500 MHz and higher and is slated to deliver very-high benchmarks of above 30 SPECint95 and above 50 SPECfp95.

SPECint95 reflects the performance of business applications and certain multimedia applications, while SPECfp95 is a benchmark for scientific and engineering applications. The chip will execute MPEG 2 motion video and deliver extremely high data transfer rates between memory and the processor.

In related chip news, IBM discussed its next-generation PowerPC architecture-based G3 series of "Power2 Super Chips."

These processors are targeted at everything from supercomputers and IBM RS/6000 workstations to portables and consumer electronics, IBM said.

Future chips will integrate a whopping 15 million transistors (by comparison the P55C Pentium will have 4.5 million) and deliver "super floating point and memory bandwidth." These chips will be based on a 64-bit PowerPC architecture. The following generation of G4 series processors will use up to 50 million transistors.